Brith Gof, founded in 1981 by Mike Pearson and Lis Hughes Jones, was a ground-breaking experimental Welsh performance company. Influenced by other European performance companies, they were pioneering in creating site specific works. Clifford McLucas, a trained architect, began working with the company on a number of projects and eventually became its artistic director. Because of this, although much of both collections are independent of each other there is an inevitable cross-over between the two. They are intrinsically linked, with items from one shedding light on items from the other.
Both collections are extremely interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly because of their hybrid nature and the diversity in format and content, varying from traditional analogue material to digital and electronic items and including audio-visual, photographic and graphic material. Even the analogue material ranges from conventional typed documents to complex scenographic designs. In size, items from the collections vary from the smallest of digital items to large graphic works such as the thirty-four Bible Banners created by Clifford McLucas. The Clifford McLucas collection also shows the diversity of work he was involved with from local projects, such as his exhibitions at the Barn Centre, Aberystwyth, to his installation at Terschelling, the Netherlands.
The collections also show the thorough research, preparation and work behind every production or project. As Brith Gof and Clifford McLucas developed, they appear to have become more aware of the importance of keeping a record of their work and the volume of material increases.
Finally it is interesting to see the way the work of Clifford McLucas and Brith Gof developed and became more ambitious. In Brith Gof’s case, from small scale site specific productions to the ambitious large scale works. Clifford McLucas’ work also developed from creating graphic works of a more traditional nature to pioneering joiner photography artwork to the large graphic works using new and developing digital technologies, such as the deep mapping work produced during his year at Stanford University.
Cataloguing the collections was not without its challenges, but it was interesting to see the diversity of material and content and follow the development of Brith Gof and Clifford McLucas’ work.
Nia Wyn Dafydd